Kenny Pickett threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Ffrench with five seconds remaining to propel Pittsburgh’s 54-45 comeback victory against Duke on Saturday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
The winning drive consisted of seven plays covering 82 yards in 69 seconds, marking another high-scoring game between the Atlantic Coast Conference teams. There was a safety on the final play, accounting for the nine-point margin.
Pickett had 72 of his 150 passing yards on the winning drive.
Daniel Jones threw four touchdown passes for Duke (5-3, 1-3), which has lost two games in a row.
The teams combined for 1,253 yards of total offense, with both teams going over 600 on the afternoon.
Pittsburgh’s Qadree Ollison gained 149 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries and V’Lique Carter had 137 yards on just seven attempts with a pair of scoring runs. Pickett was 8-for-18 passing with two TD passes and gained 76 rushing yards with a rushing score.
Collin Wareham’s 25-yard field goal with 8:07 left gave Duke a 45-42 lead. Pittsburgh (4-4, 3-1) marched to the Duke 8-yard line, but a pair of penalties and lost yards forced the Panthers to use Alex Kessman’s 48-yard field goal to tie the game with 2:33 to play.
Jones threw for 396 yards, completing 27 of 42 passes. Running back Deon Jackson had a game-high 162 rushing yards on 10 carries to go with 89 receiving yards along with a TD catch. T.J. Rahming caught two of Jones’ touchdown throws. Quentin Harris rushed for two Duke touchdowns.
Carter’s 16-yard touchdown run allowed Pittsburgh to tie the game at 42-42 with 10:39 to play.
Duke led 42-32 with almost four minutes remaining in the third quarter, with the scoring rate certainly drawing comparisons to Pittsburgh’s 58-55 victory in 2013 and Duke’s 51-48 victory in 2014.
Jones threw scoring tosses of 3 and 4 yards to Rahming in the second quarter to build a 21-10 lead at the time. Pickett’s 50-yard pass to Ffrench came as the Panthers struck back 91 seconds later to cut the deficit to four points.
Johnathan Lloyd scored on a 68-yard screen catch in the third quarter again boosting Duke’s lead to 42-32.
Pickett ran 30 yards for a touchdown on Pittsburgh’s first possession to cap a 68-yard drive.
Harris, a backup quarterback used in several specialty situations, ran 6 yards for a touchdown as the Blue Devils tied the game at 7-7 later in the first quarter.
—Field Level Media